The standings in the NFC have looked nothing like anyone had predicted going into the 2022 season.
Preseason darlings like the Rams, Packers and Buccaneers haven’t morphed into the powerhouses that was expected of them. Through the halfway point of the season, their combined record sits at a dismal 10-16.
Upstarts in the Eagles, Vikings and Giants have instead taken their place. Those first two should come as no surprise as they were expected to improve upon last season. But the Giants?! Um...can’t say I saw that one coming. If I did, I would’ve tried my luck with the Powerball a whole lot sooner.
Only five of the 16 squads in the NFC have a record above .500 with the NFC South being the lone division that doesn’t have a team with a winning record. Thursday night’s matchup being the Falcons and Panthers could propel the Dirty Birds into FIRST PLACE should they win. Similar to the Giants, I also can’t say I saw Atlanta being competitive this year. Why can’t some of these teams lay down to die and take a top-five pick like a champ?
I’m of course speaking of another team everyone figured would be rebuilding. Rams faithful, how are you feeling about those Seattle Seahawks sitting at 6-3 and atop the West? Geno Smith being an MVP candidate? Okay, now we must really be in the twilight zone. LET ME OUT!
The questions lost amongst the parity pile is how many wins could get an NFC team into the playoffs and do the Rams have a chance to sneak in?
To answer the first one, I’d say 9-10 wins should be enough. Possibly eight for some of the slackers (*cough* Rams *cough*) but I figure 10 should be the ceiling. The Eagles, Cowboys, Giants, Seahawks and Vikings all have at least six wins. Unless one of them screws up between now and the end of the regular season, they’re probably punch a trip to the postseason. Philly fans have already begun greasing their city’s street poles in anticipation.
Fringe teams like the Falcons, 49ers and Bucs have a chance to make a move with their easy remaining strength of schedule. I don’t believe in Atlanta and the Niners have too much talent not to make a run. Don’t ever count Tom Brady out of anything either. He’s divorced and on a mission. Gisele can’t save you anymore boys! Green Bay’s season is probably over if they lose at home in Mike McCarthy’s revenge game. They also have a brutal slate to finish. For a team that’s had their cheese grated all year, they’re not in a gouda place.
Now to answer my other question: do the Rams have a chance to forge a run of their own? I mean miracles happen, but I wouldn’t take it to the bank.
One thing working in LA’s favor is that their final nine opponents have a combined record of 31-35 (.470 winning percentage). That is about middle of the pack for the entire NFL. If they do plan to stop playing like total crap, they have to win one or both of their next two matchups.
Arizona is awful and it would be even worse for the Cardinals if they lose to a Matthew Stafford-less offense on Sunday. After that is a tough yet winnable game in New Orleans. If this defense doesn’t have a field day against Andy Dalton, just tank as they don’t deserve a chance to defend their crown.
Along with those matchups are two more against offensively challenged squads in the Broncos and Packers. The Chiefs will be a merciless beatdown while the Chargers is a toss up. The only divisional games left for the Rams will be the Seahawks, who I see being quite the pest. LA might not end up winning the West, but if they can at least split the season series with Seattle then that could be enough.
Oh, I forgot the Raiders! They suck so hopefully an easy dub there too.
Los Angeles has to win 5-6 of their remaining nine games. They’ve been so painfully mediocre all season so I don’t believe they deserve to make the playoffs based on their first eight. Besides if they did somehow make the postseason, they’ll lose instantly.
The playoffs are where glaring flaws are proven fatal, That won’t bide well for a team with no pass protection and an ineffective run game.
While I don’t foresee a Hollywood ending for these Rams, maybe they’ll find a way to surprise me. I’ve always been a sucker for a happy ending.